Disaster preparedness

Disaster Planning for Special Needs

In a disaster, people with special medical needs have extra concerns. Take the following steps if you or your family members have special medical needs:

  • Have an extra three-day supply of any medical supplies you use, such as bandages, ostomy bags or syringes.
  • For all medical equipment requiring electrical power such as beds, breathing equipment or infusion pumps - check with your medical supply company and get information regarding a backup power source such as a battery or generator.
  • If you use oxygen, have an emergency supply (enough for at least a three day period).
  • Oxygen tanks should be securely braced so they do not fall over. Call your medical supply company regarding bracing instructions.
  • Prepare copies of vital medical papers such as insurance cards and power of attorney.
  • Store extra batteries for hearing aids, implants, TTY and light phone signaler.
  • If hearing impaired, determine how you will communicate with emergency personnel if there is no interpreter or if you don't have your hearing aids. Store paper and pens for this purpose.
  • Service animals may become confused, frightened or disoriented during and after a disaster. Keep them confined or securely leashed or harnessed. A leash/harness is an important item for managing a nervous or upset animal.

Preparing Your Medication

  • Always have at least a three-day supply of all your medications. In some emergencies, such as an influenza pandemic, you may need to prepare for a week or more.
  • Store your medications in one location in their original containers.
  • Have a list of all your medications: name of medication, does, frequency, and the name of the prescribing doctor.